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Joshua 20

Israel Designates Cities of Refuge

20:1 The Lord instructed Joshua: 20:2 “Have the Israelites select 1  the cities of refuge 2  that I told you about through Moses. 20:3 Anyone who accidentally kills someone can escape there; 3  these cities will be a place of asylum from the avenger of blood. 20:4 The one who committed manslaughter 4  should escape to one of these cities, stand at the entrance of the city gate, and present his case to the leaders of that city. 5  They should then bring him into the city, give him a place to stay, and let him live there. 6  20:5 When the avenger of blood comes after him, they must not hand over to him the one who committed manslaughter, for he accidentally killed his fellow man without premeditation. 7  20:6 He must remain 8  in that city until his case is decided by the assembly 9  and the high priest dies. 10  Then the one who committed manslaughter may return home to the city from which he escaped.” 11 

20:7 So they selected 12  Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 20:8 Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho 13  they selected 14  Bezer in the desert on the plain belonging to the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead belonging to the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan belonging to the tribe of Manasseh. 20:9 These were the cities of refuge 15  appointed for all the Israelites and for resident foreigners living among them. Anyone who accidentally killed someone could escape there and not be executed by 16  the avenger of blood, at least until his case was reviewed by the assembly. 17 

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1 tn Heb “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘Set aside for yourselves.’”

2 tn Or “asylum.”

3 tn Heb “so that the one who kills, taking life accidentally without knowledge, may flee there.”

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the one who accidentally kills another, cf. v. 2) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “and speak into the ears of the elders of that city his words.”

6 tn Heb “and they should gather him into the city to themselves, give to him a place, and he will live with them.”

7 tn Heb “for without knowledge he killed his neighbor, and he was not hating him prior to that.”

8 tn Or “live.”

9 tn Heb “until he stands before the assembly for judgment.”

10 tn Heb “until the death of the high priest who is in those days.”

11 tn Heb “may return and enter his city and his house, the city from which he escaped.”

12 tn Heb “set apart.”

13 map For the location of Jericho see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

14 tn Or “set aside.”

15 tn The Hebrew text reads simply “the cities.” The words “for refuge” are supplied for clarification.

16 tn Heb “and not die by the hand of.”

17 tn Heb “until he stands before the assembly.” The words “at least” are supplied for clarification.

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